James Shea didn’t need to work after he retired as a career firefighter.
But he took a job on the town highway crew because he loved the camaraderie, said Supervisor Willard Peck as the town dealt today with Shea’s death, which occurred when a town snowplow hit a freight train this morning.
Shea was serving as the “wingman,” operating the plow’s side wing, while Kerry Garnsey drove. Garnsey is a 30-year veteran of the town highway department, Peck said.
The plow truck collided with the northbound freight train at the Saunders Drive crossing near the rear of the town highway department in the hamlet of Gansevoort at 8:45 a.m., Peck said.
The Saratoga County Sheriffs Department is investigating the crash to determine what happened.
Shea was pronounced dead at the scene, and Garnsey was taken to Glens Falls Hospital, where he is in stable condition.
Shea had been a Gansevoort volunteer firefighter for about 10 years, and his fellow volunteers responded to the gruesome crash scene this morning.
“It’s very difficult when you have a small-town accident scene,” Peck said. “Here’s one of their men who’s fallen.”
Shea was a town resident and leaves behind his wife, Linda.
Peck said the town’s residents were supporting Shea’s wife and each other. “When tragedy hits, people come together.”
The train was delayed as authorities investigated what happened.
Canadian Pacific spokesman Michel Spenard said the train did not derail and the locomotive engineer and conductor on board were uninjured.
The mixed freight train was on its way from Saratoga Springs to Rouses Point, a town near the New York-Quebec border.
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Categories: Schenectady County